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anna-vander-stel-60342Business can be brutal sometimes.

And when you feel that stress, you tend to pass it on to your people. In the form of pressured deadlines, brutal feedback, and snippy interactions.

Your employees can put up with the normal pressures of their work, but it’s this stress that drives them away. The message is that you don’t care, and everyone’s life would be easier if they weren’t around. So they leave – maybe not today, but eventually.

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On this MLK Day, it’s important for us to strive to make the world a more peaceful place.  What’s your part?

handshakeAnything significant is a commitment before it is actually done.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Why is it true? Because we make progress by deciding to do something first.

Perhaps it’s a commitment to yourself: I’m going to clean up the yard. I’m going to have that conversation I’ve been avoiding. I’m going to get that job done this afternoon.

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I was a little bit proud that I hit my six year anniversary with Small Fish Business Coaching last week. And LinkedIn was SO helpful to let all my connections know.

The first few well-wishers caught my attention. Then the deluge started. 63 so far, and still counting more than a week later.

So what’s the problem?

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The last thing you need is employees.

Don’t get me wrong; You absolutely DO need these people. It’s the name “employee” that could be a problem.

Many years ago, Walt Disney started describing people in his company with more creative names such as “Imagineers” or “Cast Members.” These descriptors signified their unique value to the business, and a shift in mindset and relationship.

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Starting out as a software engineer in computer communications, I ran across the robustness principle:

Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others

accept rejectIt’s a highly useful approach to get software programs to work well with each other, but I’ve also learned that it’s even more powerful when talking about human relationships.

Humans make a lot more mistakes than computers do.

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Decision cubeI’ve discovered that I make decisions while talking with other people.

It feels strange to me, because I’ve always thought of myself as an introvert.  But this requires actual human interaction, right?

I think it’s because I can go round and round in my head, it becomes an echo chamber of indecision.

Once I recognized this about myself, I realized that there’s some big traps I can fall into: Read the rest of this entry »

tldrI ran across this curious little designation about a year ago, and I struggled to figure out why people were using it comments on blogs and discussion groups.


So of course I asked the all-knowing Google, and it turns out there’s a Wikipedia page on the topic.  It means “too long; didn’t read.”

Yet, despite directly admitting that they didn’t invest the time to read an article – much less think about it – a commenter feels the need to go ahead and respond to what they thought/feared/hoped the original writer said.

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YouthI’ve talked with a number of people recently who are again hiring, or focused on issues of employee turnover.  In some ways it’s an encouraging sign, because it often indicates a company growth and improved economy.

But many business owners struggle with getting employees who are a good fit.  I often hear complaints which begin with “kids these days …”

Let me stop you right there.  You’re whining, not problem-solving.

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I get lots of newsletters.  I don’t know if I’m a junkie, exactly, but sometimes it feels like my email is swimming with these things.

But it gives me an opportunity to form opinions about what works best.  And what doesn’t.

There’s a whole group of messages which look like plain old emails which were sent to hundreds or thousands of people.  Sure, this is the least expensive approach, but it’s not giving a great impression of the company.  Read the rest of this entry »

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